SDLqTICKETS" was a hot-button word in the last week in Winnipeg but it may not be too late for fans of the NHL's newest team to attend its first official event later this month.
Minnesota Wild vice-president of communications and broadcasting Bill Robertson said Monday fans who are interested in attending the NHL's 2011 entry draft June 24-25 may yet find some availability. The Wild are hosting this year's draft.
"I would urge those fans to get to our website (wild.nhl.com) as soon as possible and follow the links," Robertson said Monday. "I've talked to our ticketing people today and there has been lots of interest prior to the announcements in Winnipeg in the last week.
"We have had numerous inquiries already about the draft from fans in Winnipeg and the Manitoba area."
Robertson said the Wild have given priority to their season-ticket holders and that Friday night's draft tickets for the first round may be in short supply.
"We're expecting that evening to be a sellout," he said. "We're trying to help out as many fans as possible and there could be more ticket availability in the coming days."
The team's website showed Monday that all first-round tickets for Friday night were reserved, but that some may become available before the draft.
Saturday tickets at the Xcel Energy Centre, for Rounds 2 to 7, are still available. The Wild's website said the tickets are complimentary, with just a small processing or service fee attached.
Robertson said Monday the Wild welcome Winnipeg's return to the NHL and that some great synergy has already been struck between fans in the region.
"Thunder Bay and Winnipeg have supported the Wild, traditionally with many visits to the Twin Cities for weekend games, since we started playing in 2000," Robertson said. "We do market and have marketed up there, both the Wild and events at the Xcel Energy Center. And we look forward to welcoming Winnipeg fans and their team back to the NHL."
The draft will be the Winnipeg franchise's first all-team NHL event following the expected approval on June 21 of the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise to True North.
Winnipeg has the seventh pick in the first round of this year's draft.
-- Tim Campbell